Manchester City will again have to smash their club record if they want to sign Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid, the Daily Star reports.
Kovacic has been consistently linked with a move to City as an alternative to Jorginho, who has now joined Chelsea, leaving Pep Guardiola with a dilemma on whether to add another central midfielder to his squad.
If it is to be Kovacic, he will cost a staggering £80million, with that being the amount Real Madrid are reported to have quoted Manchester City. Reports of the Croatian, a World Cup finalist, having a €50million release clause appear to have been wide of the mark.
Noises from the Etihad today, in a briefing to the northern press, have suggested that City may not sign a midfielder now that they have missed out on Jorginho, who had the perfect profile for Guardiola’s system.
That would leave Fernandinho, 33, as the main holding midfielder, although Ilkay Gündogan could play a deeper role more often, Kevin De Bruyne has the ability to play there, and with Benjamin Mendy fit again, Fabian Delph could be utilised in his natural role after spending last season at left-back.
However, with just under a month to go before the transfer window shuts, City may yet decide to dip into the market for a midfielder.
Guardiola’s only major signing of the summer to date has been Riyad Mahrez, who joined from Leicester for a club-record £60million.
City have recouped around £25million from sales of young players such as Angus Gunn, Pablo Maffeo and Angeliño, with more on the way out, so there is a considerable budget remaining if Guardiola wants any further signings.